Mandatory Vaccines VS EVCC Faculty


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Patient getting bandage from health care professional after getting an injection.

Oct. 18 marked the deadline for many state and higher education employees including Everett Community College faculty to be fully vaccinated and apply for exemption, or risk losing their job.

It has been 18 months since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic which brought multiple waves of infections, deaths and heartaches. Unfortunately, there are still mainly two sides of the pandemic: those who are vaccinated and those who are not. EvCC faculty had to choose which side they were on if they wanted to keep their job along with 63,000 other Washington State workers. For higher education faculty in the state, access to the vaccine was granted earlier this year. Exemptions also applied to those who were eligible for legitimate medical and religious reasons.

The school is at 25% of in-person classes due to the pandemic. (EvCC)

Joe Whalen, EvCC vice president of human resources, said a majority of workers from EvCC were vaccinated and able to continue their roles. According to the mandate’s criteria, the school now has 903 workers. These workers include faculty, instructors, administrators, student ambassadors, students involved in work study, etc. The vaccine or an exemption was mandatory for all workers on campus and those working from home. As of Oct. 22, 92 percent attested they were vaccinated. Katherine Schiffner, director of public relations for EvCC added the remaining 8 percent included those who have exemption status and those who were not vaccinated. Whalen and Schiffner both stated these were the most recent numbers and not definitive, more accurate numbers will be available Oct. 29.

Joe Whalen (Photo provided by EvCC)

Although those who were not granted exemption and still unvaccinated are not continuing their roles at EvCC, there will not be suspensions or cancellations of any classes. Whalen stated they were able to fill in some of the gaps with “solutions found with the collaboration of faculty members.” Colleagues within faculty rose up to the occasion and were able to accommodate the shift of workers lost.

Katherine Schiffner (Photo provided by EvCC) (J.Max Phipps)

To return to campus this fall quarter, students and faculty alike had to apply for exemption status or be vaccinated for in-person classes.

The mandatory vaccine proclamation by Washington State Governor Jay Inslee was carried out this month and nearly 2000 state employees have lost their jobs, resigned and or retired for not wanting to get the vaccine, according to The Seattle Times. President Joe Biden initially announced mandatory vaccines on Sep. 9 as part of his comprehensive plan to battle COVID-19 before Inslee announced his proclamation.

As the school moves forward, this leaves plans to rehire and start filling in those roles of workers EvCC has lost. Whalen said they have begun the process of posting the positions but understands the ongoing labor shortage may be a barrier. For those who have chosen not to continue working for the school because of the mandate, EvCC doesn’t want to leave them out to dry. If they are able to get vaccinated or the proper accommodations Whalen said, “[They are] valued colleagues, they all are immediately eligible for rehire.”